[Update] More information has come to light, please check the bottom for full info.
Gaming being blamed for society’s ills is nothing new, every time someone does something stupid and also plays games it is the games that get blamed but has local mainstream media EWN gone too far and simply made up news to try and garner attention?
It came to light when someone forwarded me a link yesterday to an article on EWN with the headline “GTA Glenvista” with the URL http://ewn.co.za/2013/09/26/Video-games-responsible-for-violence.
The article written by Craig Wynn and Govan Whittles goes on to state
“Eyewitness News last week exposed the incident in which a pupil was caught on camera beating up his teacher and later hitting him with a chair and a broom.
In the video, his classmates can be heard encouraging him and making reference to the age restricted video game Grand Theft Auto more commonly known as GTA.” (emphasis mine)
Now they didn’t have the video in question embedded on the page so I went searching for it and found it.
Now it’s a disgusting video of a small brat abusing his teacher who amazingly kept his cool. But what’s incredible is that not once do you hear any reference to GTA in this video. Maybe this is a trimmed video and the GTA reference was removed for some reason but right now I can’t find any GTA reference at all.
But that’s not all, the article then goes on to quote renowned educational psychologist, Tshepiso Matentjie, saying the following
“Players gain points when they perpetrate very serious violent acts. If you kill a woman with your bare hands you get points. They also get points for raping a woman.”
Which is yet another blatant lie as you simply cannot rape anyone in Grand Theft Auto, let alone get points for doing so. It horrifies me that someone with a Masters degree who has worked in collaboration with the Oprah school, many facets of government and is the resident psychologist on 3-Talk with Noeleen is happy to blatantly lie to the media or happy to make statements to the media that she obviously does not know enough about.
The story then goes further to quote NAG journalist Dane Remendes who states
“I would say it’s definitely one of the more violent games. You’re effectively playing the role of a gangster or a criminal. It’s not always the retailers who are responsible because younger kids opt for pirated copies as they don’t have money to spend.”
Which is all good and well but apparently Dane never said that to EWN and they are simply cherry picking comments from other interviews that he has performed. Now granted there really isn’t much wrong with that but it does call into question whether the psychologist said what she said seeing as the students didn’t seem to mention GTA at all either.
If the EWN journalists wanted to blame a video game they should have picked Bully as that could actually be believable, but I guess that would have taken some investigation and that would take too long.
I have asked EWN and Tshepiso Matentjie for a comment and I will update this article if that is forthcoming.
[Update] So the editor of EWN has come back to me and has provided a link to another version of the above video. In it you can clear here the boys talking about GTA right at the end of the video. Why this was cut out of the YouTube one is beyond me and it is something we as gamers need to pay attention to.
I have also received confirmation from EWN and Dane that they did in fact talk to each other.
I hate being wrong but I am definitely man enough to admit to it. I apologise to EWN for insinuating the GTA link was not correct.
They have however admitted that the psychologists statement was incorrect and will be fixing that.